Friday, October 21, 2011

Survivor: South Pacific - Episode Six: Loyalty vs. Strength + Conviction vs. Alliance

Coach might not have been the man in H vs. V,
 but he certainly is now. 
This season of Survivor is not disappointing, that’s for sure. Well, aside from the fact that Ozzy has lost several positions at least in my Survivor ranking of favorite players. But I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen how this all plays out.

That said, Savaii has really impressed me. I particularly love to dislike Jim, and Whitney’s maturity and strength have seduced me slowly slowly. Keith seems to be in control of the tribe – in a smart way, with Whitney by his side – even if Jim thinks he’s the one in charge. Cochran’s quirkiness has always been endearing, and I love that Dawn called out Ozzy when he was picking a fit. On Upolu, Coach, Albert and Sophie maintain their positions as my favorites. More on that below.

Let’s get stared, shall we?

1. Ozzy, my Ozzy, what has become of you?

As expected, I got quite frustrated with Ozzy in the last episode. His “free agent” nonsense and divulging that he was in possession of the Immunity Idol (?!?!?!?!?) was nothing short of a temper tantrum that not only strips him of much of his all-star title (I don’t know how you can be an all-star when you make “moves” like that on Survivor) but also puts him at a serious disadvantage in the game, which he probably deserves. I’m glad he made amends; rewards certainly have great power to that effect (remember how Shane regained Danielle’s favor at a big reward after he had yelled at her and called her names even though she was in his alliance in Survivor: Panama?). And I think it’s great that he wants someone from his alliance to win the million, because at least that’ll avoid him throwing a second? third? umpteenth? temper tantrum when he doesn’t (even if he makes it to the final three).

2. And Christine takes it again! But she is seriously weakened. And bitter.

Kudos to Christine for stepping up time and time again and showing her fire. However, fires that burn from resentment and bitterness fade sooner than fires of motivation and passion. Her behavior towards Rick at the Immunity Challenge was disappointing. And beyond that, she looks terrible. Obviously, I can’t fault her for that, but the way I see it, her anger is stripping more energy from her than life on Redemption Island. My prediction is she won’t win the next Immunity Challenge.

3. Loyalty versus Strength: Why can't you have them both? 

Edna is loyal. Mikayla is strong. But these qualities are not mutually exclusive. Though it is apparent that Edna is not physically strong, and that Mikayla is, loyalty is not as easy to establish and strength is not simply measured in weight. Furthermore, I don’t believe that Mikayla was not loyal. And I don’t believe that Edna necessarily is… All this being considered, at least Edna is attempting to compensate for her lack of physical strength with mental determination by weaseling her way into the tribe strategically. Mikayla is just floundering stubbornly, so I’m glad it was her time to go this week.

4. Conviction versus Alliance: One thing is sure, Respect is not in question. 

The dynamics within Upolu were very intriguing to watch. The core alliance of Coach, Albert and Sophie was split. This means that a) we got to see a lot more of Rick! and b) Coach and Brandon inevitably got closer again – as demonstrated by Coach’s “I love you, man” at the end of Tribal Council. That said, I don’t think it’s over between Coach and Albert and Sophie. In fact, I think it’s awesome that Albert and Sophie stood by what they believed, argued their point to Coach and tried to convince Rick to vote with them as well. They showed no disloyalty to their alliance and lacked no integrity in justifying their cause. Coach must be impressed by that. 

5. While Ozzy drops in my favorite Survivor players ranking, Coach rises steadily.

Mikayla’s ultimate elimination did turn the tables in a direction that I quite appreciate: Coach has gained a tremendous amount of power in the tribe, and it’s power that his allies cannot do very much against. He made his point, honorably and with integrity, and came out victorious. Even if I am not convinced of Edna’s loyalty to Upolu, I am certain there is no way she could or should waver from Coach. And that in itself guarantees that Coach has more friends than anyone else in this game right now. And friends are power. Add the Immunity Idol and a solid, smart team if it makes the merge and Coach could smoothly secure his way to the end.

If I could add a few remaining stray thoughts right here – which I can because hey, this is my blog! – they would be:

- I like that both tribes seem evenly matched and I think we’re seeing some great strategic moves on both ends;
- Brandon’s comment at Tribal Council about eliminating him if his tribe was going play the game disloyally was thoughtless and stupid, but I suppose there’s no surprise there;
- I’m dying to see what this “big move” Jeff Probst is talking about is!


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